Civilization V

A game that has plagued my testing over the past twelve months is Civilization V. Being on the older 12.3 Catalyst drivers were somewhat of a nightmare, giving no scaling, and as a result I dropped it from my test suite after only a couple of reviews. With the later drivers used for this review, the situation has improved but only slightly, as you will see below. Civilization V seems to run into a scaling bottleneck very early on, and any additional GPU allocation only causes worse performance.

Our Civilization V testing uses Ryan’s GPU benchmark test all wrapped up in a neat batch file. We test at 1440p, and report the average frame rate of a 5 minute test.

One 7970

Civilization V - One 7970, 1440p, Max Settings

Civilization V is the first game where we see a gap when comparing processor families. A big part of what makes Civ5 perform at the best rates seems to be PCIe 3.0, followed by CPU performance – our PCIe 2.0 Intel processors are a little behind the PCIe 3.0 models. By virtue of not having a PCIe 3.0 AMD motherboard in for testing, the bad rap falls on AMD until PCIe 3.0 becomes part of their main game.

Two 7970s

Civilization V - Two 7970s, 1440p, Max Settings

The power of PCIe 3.0 is more apparent with two 7970 GPUs, however it is worth noting that only processors such as the i5-2500K and above have actually improved their performance with the second GPU. Everything else stays relatively similar.

Three 7970s

Civilization V - Three 7970, 1440p, Max Settings

More cores and PCIe 3.0 are winners here, but no GPU configuration has scaled above two GPUs.

Four 7970s

Civilization V - Four 7970, 1440p, Max Settings

Again, no scaling.

One 580

Civilization V - One 580, 1440p, Max Settings

While the top end Intel processors again take the lead, an interesting point is that now we have all PCIe 2.0 values for comparison, the non-hyper threaded 2500K takes the top spot, 10% higher than the FX-8350.

Two 580s

Civilization V - Two 580s, 1440p, Max Settings

We have another Intel/AMD split, by virtue of the fact that none of the AMD processors scaled above the first GPU. On the Intel side, you need at least an i5-2500K to see scaling, similar to what we saw with the 7970s.

Civilization V conclusion

Intel processors are the clear winner here, though not one stands out over the other. Having PCIe 3.0 seems to be the positive point for Civilization V, but in most cases scaling is still out of the window unless you have a monster machine under your belt.

GPU Benchmarks: Dirt 3 GPU Benchmarks: Sleeping Dogs
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  • jabber - Tuesday, June 04, 2013 - link

    4.6 million on Steam? Is that basically the current total subscriber level?

    Wow I knew gamers were a minority but that's scary. Okay I know not all gamers are on Steam but...

    Amazed that companies even bother for so few. Say it isn't so!
    Reply
  • jeffkibuule - Tuesday, June 04, 2013 - link

    Pretty sure that's current ACTIVE users. Reply
  • jabber - Tuesday, June 04, 2013 - link

    I'd hope so. Reply
  • chizow - Tuesday, June 04, 2013 - link

    Yeah it has to be, a few years ago Steam had announced they have some 25 million users, it was actually very close to the individual numbers for 360 and PS3 at the time. Valve keeps their total #s and sales really close to the vest though, so it's hard to get numbers out of them unless they are announcing milestones. Reply
  • Rattlepiece - Tuesday, June 04, 2013 - link

    4.6 million was the current amount of users online when the article was written. http://store.steampowered.com/stats/

    Steam has more than 55 million active users.
    Reply
  • medi02 - Wednesday, June 05, 2013 - link

    I wonder what they mean by "active".
    Most likely it's a number of users with steam client running.
    Well, it runs idle for more than a year for me, yet I'm an "active" user I guess...
    Reply
  • UltraTech79 - Saturday, June 22, 2013 - link

    Why the hell are you running steam idle for over a year and not using it then? Reply
  • trajan2448 - Tuesday, June 04, 2013 - link

    Still publishing Crossfire numbers as legit, despite multiple sites showing numerous runt frames which never reach the screen? This is disingenuous, to say the least. Reply
  • dsumanik - Tuesday, June 04, 2013 - link

    What's more disengenuous is the haswell review. Glowing review of an incremental more of the same from intel.

    This article actually recommends a 2500 k.

    That says it all!
    Reply
  • ninjaquick - Tuesday, June 04, 2013 - link

    "If you were buying new, the obvious answer would be looking at an i5-3570K on Ivy Bridge rather than the 2500K"

    Ian basically wanted to get a relatively broad test suite, at as many performance points as possible. Haswell, however, is really quite a bit quicker. More than anything, this article is an introduction to how they are going to be testing moving forward, as well as a list of recommendations for different budgets.
    Reply

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